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Bensen and his fellow terraformers believed that the planet was lifeless, but were wrong. The terraforming was killing silicon-based lifeforms. These lifeforms attacked Bensen and the rest of the team. In 2364, after discovering the lifeforms, the terraforming project was halted. During a meeting in the observation lounge aboard the USS Enterprise-D, Bensen told Captain Picard that the project director Kurt Mandl and he himself saw strange patterns in the sand when they've started but he would never thought about lifeforms. (TNG: "Home Soil")